Antisemitism seems to be rearing its ugly head again, even in America. As reported by George Flesh in his recent Arutz Shevaarticle, “Jews are the No. 1 target in America for hate crimes in proportion to population” (based upon figures published by the FBI and population estimates).
According to a new survey commissioned and released by the Ruderman Family Foundation: “Ninety-three percent of American Jews are concerned with the current levels of antisemitism in the United States, with nearly half of U.S. Jews (42%) experiencing antisemitism either directly or through family and friends over the past five years alone.”
The common Jewish response to an increase in antisemitism is to combat it, by calling it out and by appealing to rational minds not to tolerate it. This is a reasonable response. Jews are being singled out and attacked unfairly. We need only recall the Holocaust to remind people what evils antisemitism has wrought in the world. People should listen to us, or maybe not.
Appealing to Compassion Has its Limits
We Jews have a Father, the God of Israel. He is a Compassionate Father. We made a Covenant with Him and then repeatedly broke it, generation after generation, as we do today. From time to time we receive our Punishment for this, as we were clearly warned beforehand in Deuteronomy (particularly from Chapter 4 and onward), but most of the time God is lenient with us.
Most of the time, we break the Covenant and even completely ignore it. We act as if our Covenant no longer exists and we have been released from it, although we still consider ourselves Jews and a Chosen people. We think we can be both God’s people and be free from Him, so we appeal to His Compassion while sinning against Him. Then we wonder why antisemitism still exists.
Appealing to compassion has its limits, both to the Compassion of God and to the compassion of people. After a while, as with most fathers, God loses His Temper. This Flaring of Anger is received bitterly by us, but I assume that even God Punishes us with Bitterness, for Compassion is often soon to follow.
We receive Compassion, not particularly because we have improved ourselves, but because God still Loves us. The greater our suffering, the greater His Compassion for us. But we’re not always suffering. All too often we are complacent in our comfort. Reminding people how we suffered in the past should not always make them feel sorry for us. The same thinking applies to God.
If we have not suffered for a while, and if we continue to break our Covenant with God, expect to be Punished again in the future. It is only reasonable.
Antisemitism is Reasonable
To us as people, antisemitism may seem irrational, but from a Torah perspective, it makes perfect sense. It does not matter that the reasons people give for hating us are contradictory or irrational, to them it makes perfect sense and even feels natural.
We might make great arguments in protest, but our words will go unnoticed, the way we ignore the Words of our Covenant. If God will no longer Hear us, expect others to ignore us as well.
Antisemitism is the sword released against us when God turns His back on us. It is a symptom of the problem, the hateful assaults against us, but the root of the problem is that God is no longer there to protect us.
Without God, we cannot defend ourselves. We are alone as men in the lands of ravaging wolves. When God is with us, those wolves become harmless. They even become our friends, like domesticated pets, and we become complacent, assuming they will always be kind to us. But such expectations are irrational. When God is not with us, expect those wolves to turn against us, for He is their Master. They do not serve us, they serve God.
We may protest antisemitism all we want, but that may not get us very far. We must accept that antisemitism is part of our Covenant with God, a problem that has followed us wherever we went.
We can try to reason with the wolves, thinking we are smart, or we can return to God, and He will Protect us.
Yshai Amichai is a father of six and an author with a legal education, whose books advocate upholding the Torah as a national Constitution. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org